General Areas of Research

A nice New York Times article on some of our  work on African wild dogs, and an MSU article on our broader work with the Zambian Carnivore Programme


Behavioral ecology, population biology, conservation, behavioral endocrinology, evolutionary ecology. My  research is based on field studies, generally using observational methods, and often following known individuals. Much of the work in my lab has involved the integration of behavioral and demographic data from the field with physiological and genetic data from the lab.

I have focussed in the past on cooperative breeding, cooperative hunting, and interspecific competition within the large carnivore guild. Much of my recent research has focused on the ways that predators affect prey other than by simply killing them -- identifying responses to predation risk and measuring their  costs (physiological, energetic and demographic). This work won the Carl Gustav Bernhard Medal from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.  bernhardRecently my focus has shifted to integrating genetic data from high throughput sequencing and spatial data from GPS collars into analysis of movement and the ways that humans affect connectivity between ecosystems.


My current field research is with the Zambian Carnivore Programme, examining carnivore conservation, ecology, behavior and genetics in three ecosystems (Liuwa, South Luangwa and Kafue National Parks).   In this work, we are studying African wild dogs, lions, spotted hyenas, cheetahs and leopards and all of the large herbivores that form their prey base. This work provides basic data for conservation and management on population size, survival, reproduction, distributions, movements and the factors that affect them.


Part of this research, jointly funded by the NSF Population and Community Ecology and Animal Behavior programs, examines how the movements of large carnivores are affected human activities and natural processes, and how these alter genetic and demographic connectivity between ecosystems.     



wild dog sunset

Web of Science breakdown of published work:

research areas from Web of Science